I'm still in shock how much Jenn and I have been able to see on our transit days. I figured when we booked this trip that days like yesterday would be spent getting settled in, but that just hasn't been the case. We woke up this morning still feeling the energy of yesterday. Unlike yesterday we also woke up to crystal blue skies and a nice sunny morning.
We left our hotel around 9:30AM and made our way for our first stop of the day, the office of the official Vienna Hot Rod Tour. As has been the case for the previous stops on our trip we've been trying to book different experiences at each stop. Outside of the opera, one experience that we researched when looking into Vienna was this new Hot Rod Tour. We made our way to their office which was a fifteen minute walk and arrived a little before 10AM.
When we got to their office we were given beanies to put on under our helmets. I did have a moment that Jenn will never let me live down. I'm so used to buying clothes in small sizes, so when I grabbed a helmet I too grabbed a smaller size. I sadly needed a large and for some reason Jenn thought was hilarious. Regardless we got our helmets, met the other couple and our tour guide and walked to our hot rods.
Calling these hot rods might not be the most apt, they're basically supped up go-karts but they are street legal and licensed. After walking over to the parking structure where they keep the cars, we got in our hot rods, gave them a couple of test drive laps and were on the road. Well that was until Jenn's hot rod died getting out of the structure. Our tour guide went to fetch her and once the tour guide fixed her hot rod we were hitting the roads of Vienna.
The entire tour lasted two hours and was a blast. Jenn and I were in the front of the pack following the tour guide, with the other couple following behind. We made our way through the city and were given an audio tour through an ear piece from the tour guide as we went. At each stop light we would ride up next to each other, two hot rods parallel to each other fitting in one lane. Seeing us next to buses and big rigs was sort of hilarious.
The best part of the tour was the grins that Jenn and I had on our face during the entire experience. It was great. And boy did spectators love it. We must have had a couple of hundred pictures of us taken while riding through the city. People kept asking us how we liked it and how they could do it as well. We totally could see why they were so popular. We made a couple of stops along the way, once on a bridge to take photos and another time near the Austrian parliament building. The entire experience was just a lot of fun, it wasn't as informative as we would have liked, but we really enjoyed driving the hot rods and seeing the city.
The tour gave us two things, a great overview of the city and also a strong appetite. We made our way from the hot rod tour to lunch. Jenn had written down some suggestions and so we got walking directions and made our way to Cafe Ansari. On the way there we passed a Starbucks and on our first try got a matching Starbucks mug from what we got in Amsterdam and Berlin, success! We got to lunch at 1PM and got a great seat outside on what I would consider a perfect day in Vienna.
For lunch I got the pita stuffed with chicken and peppers and Jenn went a lamb and rice dish. I'm not entirely sure what style cuisine they cook with at Cafe Ansari but I'm here to tell you it doesn't matter one bit because their food was phenomenal. Both of our dishes were bursting with flavor, without being to overpowering. Both could have been way to spicy or overpowering but instead they were just simply delicious. There weren't even crumbs left on either of our plates.
From the beautiful outdoor cafe we made our way to the metro for the first time in Vienna, and like most cities its easy and convenient. We took a long ride from where the cafe was located to our first stop of the afternoon, the Schönbrunn Palace. After making a wrong turn coming out of the underground, we reoriented ourselves and walked over to the stunning palace.
The grounds for the palace were expansive and gorgeous. The courtyard that you enter when you first get here will literally take your breath away. We spent around an hour at the palace and took in the majestic courtyard and exterior. We opted not to spend the money or time to do the massive tour and instead just really enjoy our time at the palace. When we wrapped up our time there we jumped back on the metro and make a quick pitstop at our hotel before calling an Uber and going back out.
Our last stop of the day was at the Belvedere. Just sounds fancy right? As much as I loved the Schönbrunn Palace I think I'm partial to the Belvedere. Once again right when you walk up to this place it just blows your socks off. It's like something from a fairy tale. We spent even more time here even though we were starting to get tired. We sat on a park bench for at least a half hour taking in the beauty of the gardens and the day. These are two places I could totally see coming back to and getting lost in.
After our time at both Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere we were exhausted and done for the day. We grabbed a taxi back to our hotel (Uber failed us on this one) and went out for dinner. We had reservations across the street at a well reviewed cafe. We were just feeling something light and easy. Sadly this place was an all around disappointment. Jenn had a burger and I had their bratwurst. Jenn's burger just tasted bland and uninspired, while my bratwurst turned out to be a couple of decent hot dogs. Not sure why the reviews were so high but it didn't win us over.
After dinner it was just before 7PM and we decided to call it a night. My amazing loving wife let me watch both the Apple iPhone 7 conference and the Sony Playstation 4 Pro conference while she surfed on her iPhone and slept. It was a really nice way for both of us to unwind after a truly remarkable first full day in Vienna.